Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs

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Psychologists specialize in observing and evaluating different cognitive and emotional processes. Their primary goal is to understand and interpret the underlying reasons behind the way people think, feel, behave and interact with one another. Psychologists draw on the latest theories to form the foundation of their research, and often collect data from individual and group interviews, surveys, clinical observations and other best-practice methods. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, psychology is one of the most popular majors for undergraduate students. Roughly 114,000 bachelor’s degrees in psychology were conferred during the 2012-13 academic year, making psychology the fourth most common major that year behind business, health professions and social sciences/history. In most cases, undergraduate students earn a psychology Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, although Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in psychology are also widely available.

However, careers in psychology require an extensive postsecondary education. Although some positions are attainable with a master’s degree, most psychologists complete a doctoral (Ph.D.) program before entering the workforce. Additionally, psychologists in public practice must earn full licensure in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. While a bachelor’s degree will not be sufficient for most psychology careers, a four-year undergraduate program will equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed at the graduate level. Many bachelor’s programs also include internship or practicum components, which allow students to receive supervised clinical training from experienced professionals. A large number of today’s students are choosing to earn their psychology degree online. The best online psychology programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as traditional classroom-based options, and the asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule of many online degrees is ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other commitments that may interfere with a campus-based education.

Learn more about what you can do with an online bachelor’s degree in psychology and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.


A bachelor’s degree is a critical first step for students who wish to pursue a career in psychology. Typically, the curriculum for an online bachelor’s in psychology degree will introduce fundamental subfields of psychology, such as cognitive, developmental, social and organizational psychology. Upper-level undergraduates will also learn about the most effective research methods. Students who successfully complete an online bachelor’s in psychology degree program will be ready to advance into most master’s programs.


Online psychology degree programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional brick-and- mortar education. Students are usually able to access course readings and lectures, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. The latest in e-learning technology also enables them to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. For added convenience, online psychology students can normally coordinate internships and practicum courses at sites near their current residence.


Psychology bachelor’s degree recipients may be considered for some entry-level jobs, such as research assistants, technicians and other supportive staff roles. Many psychology majors also go on to pursue careers in non-psychology fields, such as business or education. However, the majority of students who earn a bachelor’s in psychology will continue their education with a master’s degree, and most likely a Ph.D. as well. An online bachelor’s in psychology program will provide the foundational education needed to succeed in advanced, specialized areas at the graduate level. Undergraduate psychology programs also expose students to current workplace conditions and considerations through internships and practicum courses.


Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor’s degree in psychology programs in the United States. If you are considering an online bachelor’s in psychology, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific bachelor’s degree requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description
1 University of Central Florida 75.21 3/5 Orlando, FL

Located on a sprawling 1,400-acre campus in Orlando, UCF is one of the nation’s largest universities, serving more than 63,000 students. Its online BS in Psychology program provides students with a broad base of knowledge in the discipline, including key terminology and how concepts may be used in both research and practical contexts. Physiological psychology, research methods, and systems history are other key areas of focus. Students are encouraged to participate in experiences beyond the classroom, such as internships, research, and fieldwork. Additionally, UCF is widely considered one of the most affordable online universities in the United States.

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2 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 73.99 2/5 Champaign, IL

UI’s online psychology program is based on five key areas of focus: knowledge base in psychology, scientific inquiry, ethical and social responsibility, communication, and professional development. Illinois has an excellent reputation for providing robust online programs. The school educates more than 44,000 distance learners annually, and the program’s online tutoring resources will help students from all backgrounds absorb lecture material and prepare for tests.

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3 Liberty University 68.55 4/5 Lynchburg, VA

Liberty was an innovator in developing cohesive distance education in the mid-1980s, and the school continues to offer opportunities for students to earn an online bachelor’s degree in psychology and a wide range of other disciplines. Liberty’s psychology program brings a Christian perspective to the field, including the understanding of psychological development and behaviors. Students may choose to specialize in Christian counseling, military resilience, life coaching, crisis counseling, addiction and recovery, and criminal psychology.

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4 University of North Dakota 67.04 3/5 Grand Forks, ND

UND offers an online bachelor's degree in psychology specifically catered to working adults. The program also delivers comprehensive student services, including tech support, online tutoring, library resources, and academic advising. Additionally, all online students pay in-state tuition, no matter where they live. Located in Grand Forks, the University of North Dakota has about 15,000 enrolled students and more than 275 student organizations and clubs.

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5 University of Florida-Online 66.10 3/5 Gainesville, FL

Students in UF’s online psychology program receive a broad, evidence-based educational experience that explores the field from the perspectives of both natural and social sciences. The program prepares students for careers in management, education, business, healthcare and counseling, or for coursework in an advanced degree program. UF is a widely respected public research institution, generating more than $724 million in research awards in 2015. The campus, located in Gainesville, aims to become completely carbon-neutral by 2025.

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6 Trine University-Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses 66.01 3/5 Fort Wayne, IN

Covering a variety of subjects related to abnormal, forensic, addiction, personality, human sexuality, counseling, and family psychology, Trine offers a comprehensive academic experience to students. The university’s online psychology degree program is often paired with other disciplines, such as criminal justice or management. Located in Angola, Indiana, Trine boasts internationally acclaimed facility members and reputable academic programs that focus on serving the needs of nontraditional students.

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7 LeTourneau University 65.95 3/5 Longview, TX

Steeped in a faith-based curriculum that emphasizes Christian counseling practices and theories, LeTourneau’s online psychology program offers students the opportunity to explore counseling, clinical psychology, and child development. The school is particularly welcoming to transfer students, and will accept credits from most accredited schools throughout the country. LeTourneau has a 172-acre campus in Longview, Texas, and currently serves nearly 2,000 undergraduate and more than 500 graduate students.

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8 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 64.93 2/5 Lowell, MA

The online bachelor’s degree in psychology program at the UMass-Lowell is ideal for students who would like to explore social and behavioral sciences. The school offers a flexible and convenient curriculum that explores a range of subfields, including clinical, experimental, social, developmental, and personality psychology. The program is accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. More than 17,000 students are currently enrolled.

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9 Florida International University 64.88 2/5 Miami, FL

Located in Miami, FIU is a well-respected research institution, and the school has earned a reputation for helping Hispanic students graduate. The university’s fully online bachelor’s degree in psychology covers experimental, applied, social, developmental, and abnormal psychology and provides a strong foundation in analyzing human behavior and scientific research. Graduates often pursue careers in social services, human resources, management, and related fields.

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10 Old Dominion University 64.62 2/5 Norfolk, VA

ODU’s online psychology program affords students the opportunity to hone their analytical skills and improve their interactions in personal and professional settings. Coursework covers experimental design and quantitative methods. Students may access their learning materials from anywhere with an internet connection, and most classes do not have mandatory meeting times. Located in Norfolk, Old Dominion boasts 25 State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award winners. The university is known for its rigorous programs and use of technology to provide a dynamic, modern educational experience to students.

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11 Colorado State University-Fort Collins 64.24 2/5 Fort Collins, CO

Founded in 1870, Colorado State is a public university known for its academic rigor, high graduation rates, and commitment to sustainability. About 76 percent of its students finish their undergraduate degrees in 4.5 years or less, and the university has increased its faculty by 13 percent over the last five years. CSU’s BS in psychology program delivers a well-rounded curriculum. Online psychology degree students can expect to study social psychology, cognitive psychology, industrial psychology, and biological psychology. Students can also take a 300-level class in religious psychology.

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12 Washington State University 63.85 3/5 Pullman, WA

Founded as a land grant university in 1890, Washington State offers more than 90 academic programs for undergraduates, including nine that are entirely online. WSU’s online bachelor’s in psychology degree covers the scientific methods and practical applications of psychology in the field. The program is formatted for students who plan to use their training in psychology in practical environments, such as health and human services, business management, sales and marketing, research and development, and more.

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13 Dallas Baptist University 63.66 3/5 Dallas, TX

Dallas Baptist’s online bachelor’s degree in psychology covers a range of topics in the field. From counseling techniques and human growth and development, to personality disorders and family psychology, students have the opportunity to explore a variety of dimensions in the field. With its 5,156 students, DBU offers 72 undergraduate programs, along with 29 master’s degrees and two doctoral programs. The university’s average class size is just 13, providing a highly personalized experience for both online and traditional students. DBU is also known for its emphasis on helping students develop strong communication, critical thinking, technology, reading comprehension, and information literacy skills.

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14 Northeastern University 63.42 3/5 Boston, MA

Northeastern’s online psychology program covers a range of topics, teaching students the interpersonal skills and knowledge they need to apply their learning to many different career fields. Key areas of study include social and abnormal psychology, memory, human development, sensory functions, and motivation, among several others. With its main campus located in Boston, Northeastern University is a global leader in research and experiential learning. School-wide, 89 percent of employed graduates are working in a career field related to their chosen major.

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15 Brandman University 63.21 3/5 Irvine, CA

Students in Brandman’s online psychology program receive a highly personalized academic experience that helps foster communication and critical thinking skills, while instilling a sense of service, professional ethics, and commitment to lifelong learning. There are also several concentrations available, including child psychology, preclinical psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, and community psychology. Brandman’s online courses are designed to meet the needs and schedule demands of adult learners, and the school serves more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students annually.

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16 Central Washington University 62.51 2/5 Ellensburg, WA

Central Washington University, located in Ellensburg, offers a BA in psychology online. The program covers the content, viewpoints, and methods of practice in the field. The major, which includes 45 total credit hours, prepares students for careers in family services, social work, business, marketing, forensics, and many others. Additionally, the program allows students to get a head start on graduate school, as they may apply some of their core undergraduate courses to fulfill master’s degree requirements. CWU maintains an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and the average class has about 25 students.

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17 Regis University 61.74 3/5 Denver, CO

Located in northwest Denver, Regis University is a Jesuit school. The university’s online bachelor’s in applied psychology provides students with an opportunity to explore important topics like lifespan development, positive psychology, stress management, abnormal behaviors, and health psychology. Through the curriculum, faculty and staff aim to develop the whole person, allowing students to truly reflect and build their skills through the practical application of psychology principles in both theoretical and practical settings.

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18 University of Utah 60.70 3/5 Salt Lake City, UT

Utah’s online BS in psychology program fosters interactive learning through contributions to online discussions, group assignments, and peer reviews, giving students the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the work of others. In addition to their coursework, students are encouraged to work as interns and research assistants, giving them real-world experience that better prepares them for professional careers or advanced degree programs. Serving more than 31,000 students, Utah’s faculty members have received over 450 awards from national and international governing councils and societies.

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19 Oregon State University 60.50 3/5 Corvallis, OR

Oregon State’s online psychology degree program, available as either a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science, offers students a chance to fully explore both why and how human beings think, feel, and behave in certain ways. The coursework in the program focuses on strong oral and written communication, critical thinking, problem solving, and the use of the scientific method. Located in Corvallis, one of the most environmentally friendly small cities in the United States, OSU is one of only two colleges to have Sun Grant, Sea Grant, and Space Grant designations. The university estimates that it has an economic impact of more than $2.2 billion throughout the state of Oregon.

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20 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 60.28 3/5 University Park, PA

Penn State’s World Campus has a long history--more than 125 years--of providing high-quality distance education to students located throughout the United States and around the world. In all, the university welcomes students from more than 60 different countries. Through Penn State’s BA or BS online psychology degree program, students can prepare for a range of potential careers, including recreational therapy, corrections, social work, counseling, caregiving, and business, to name just a few. The program is also home to the world’s first completely online psychology club, which currently has more than 100 members across the globe.

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21 Drexel University 60.32 4/5 Philadelphia, PA

Located in Philadelphia, Drexel offers its psychology program entirely online. The program features an internationally acclaimed faculty composed of passionate educators and researchers. Students have access to an interactive online portal that gives them everything they need to complete their coursework efficiently and on their own schedule. Serving more than 26,000 students overall, Drexel is a nationally recognized public institution with a reputation for optimizing the latest in academic technology to benefit its students. Additionally, Drexel was one of the first universities to offer degrees online.

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22 University of Memphis 60.26 2/5 Memphis, TN

Founded in 1912, the University of Memphis currently has approximately 16,600 undergraduate and 3,600 graduate students enrolled. The school’s online bachelor’s degree in psychology program helps students develop strong communication, critical reasoning, and quantitative analysis skills. Research is another hallmark of Memphis’s program: all students are expected to conduct research projects, and the curriculum introduces students to basic research methods and statistical analysis.

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23 Nova Southeastern University 60.19 4/5 Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern’s online bachelor’s program in psychology introduces students to a range of theories, research, and evidence in the field. The curriculum prepares distance learners for meaningful careers in social work, market research, crisis support, substance abuse counseling, and more. Students are also encouraged to engage in clinical research and join the university’s chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. A private research institution, NSU offers small class sizes, highly credentialed professors, and a diverse student population. The university is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and was founded in 1964.

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24 University of Houston-Victoria 60.01 2/5 Victoria, TX

Houston-Victoria is a nationally recognized public university that offers some of the lowest tuition and fees in Texas. The school has been specially designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. UHV’s online psychology degree program, which is available as both a BA and a BS, aims to enhance your understanding of individual and group differences, improve your critical thinking and communication skills, and effectively incorporate statistical and research methods into the curriculum. The program also has advisors and student success coaches available to help students who have questions or specific needs while they’re in school.

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25 Concordia University-Saint Paul 59.75 3/5 Saint Paul, MN

Concordia offers a robust online BA in psychology program that’s perfect for students who are interested in academic research and studying social behaviors. In addition to preparing students for a variety of career fields, the program provides a solid foundation for continued success at the graduate school level. Located in the Twin Cities, Concordia boasts an impressive 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Over 44 percent of its students graduated with honors in 2014, and students give more than 8,000 hours of service learning and volunteering each year.

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4 to 5 years
Program Costs
$10,000 to $25,000 in annual tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study
Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Organizational Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Child Psychology, Educational/School Psychology, Counseling, Social Work
The American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation (doctoral programs only). There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study at the undergraduate level. Students should defer to the regional/national accreditation of their four-year college or university.
Additional Considerations
All U.S. states and the District of Columbia require psychologists to be licensed in the state where they operate; in most states, candidates for licensure must first earn a doctoral degree, complete an internship and fulfill at least one to two years of supervised work experience.

Learn More About Other Psychology Degree Programs

Psychology is a complicated field that lends itself to concentrated areas of study. If you want to consider your options beyond a general online psychology degree, click through the following list for information about schools that offer specializations within their psychology degree programs.

Applied Psychology
Behavioral Psychology
Forensic Psychology
Organizational Psychology

Job Placement

Unemployment rates for students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology are relatively high, largely due to additional academic requirements for most psychology-related jobs. According to a recent survey by the NCES, psychology bachelor’s recipients between the ages of 25 and 29 face an unemployment rate of 5.8%; by comparison, the national unemployment rate is currently estimated at 5.0%.

Using data from the NACE survey, the following table weighs the unemployment rates of psychology majors against the rates for other academic majors in the same age bracket.

Bachelor’s Degree Field of Study Unemployment Rate for
25- to 29-Year-Old Degree Recipients
Psychology 5.8%
Nursing 3.2%
General Education 3.3%
General Business 4.1%
Computer and Information Systems 4.5%
Sociology 5.1%
History 5.8%
English Language and Literature 6.1%
Criminal Justice and Fire Protection 6.2%
Political Science and Government 8.2%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

The survey also found that the unemployment rate for students of all majors was 4.8% ― a full percentage point behind the unemployment rate for psychology majors. However, job placement rates for psychology students with a master’s degree are much more favorable. A 2014 report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that master’s in psychology recipients face an unemployment rate of 3.9% at the time of graduation, while master’s in psychology degree-holders with professional experience face an unemployment rate of 3.3%.

Earning a Living

The annual PayScale College Salary Report measures salary expectations for different academic majors and degree attainment levels. According to 2015-16 PayScale data, students who earn bachelor’s degrees in psychology earn an average annual income of $40,000 at the entry-level stage and $64,700 after 10 years in the workforce. The table below looks at specific salary expectations for three different psychology-related undergraduate majors at these two career stages.

Bachelor’s Degree Field of Study Median Annual Salary for
Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)
Median Annual Salary for
Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Industrial Psychology $44,000 $74,900
Psychology $38,300 $62,100
Psychology and Sociology $37,800 $57,200

The survey also found that the unemployment rate for students of all majors was 4.8% ― a full percentage point behind the unemployment rate for psychology majors. However, job placement rates for psychology students with a master’s degree are much more favorable. A 2014 report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that master’s in psychology recipients face an unemployment rate of 3.9% at the time of graduation, while master’s in psychology degree-holders with professional experience face an unemployment rate of 3.3%.

Earning a Living

The annual PayScale College Salary Report measures salary expectations for different academic majors and degree attainment levels. According to 2015-16 PayScale data, students who earn bachelor’s degrees in psychology earn an average annual income of $40,000 at the entry-level stage and $64,700 after 10 years in the workforce. The table below looks at specific salary expectations for three different psychology-related undergraduate majors at these two career stages.

Bachelor’s Degree Field of Study Median Annual Salary for
Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)
Median Annual Salary for
Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Industrial Psychology $44,000 $74,900
Psychology $38,300 $62,100
Psychology and Sociology $37,800 $57,200

2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

Earning potential for psychology degree recipients will also depend on their specific job title, as well as other factors like company size and city/state of employment. Read on to learn more about career options for students who choose to conclude their postsecondary education with a bachelor’s in psychology.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who earn an online bachelor’s in psychology and plan to become licensed psychologists will be well-prepared for the demands of successive master’s and Ph.D. programs. However, many bachelor’s in psychology recipients choose to enter the workforce and launch their career without further education. Four of the most common career pathways for individuals with a bachelor’s in psychology are detailed below.

Human Resources Specialists: HR specialists oversee recruitment, interviewing, candidate screening and hiring operations at private companies, government agencies and other organizations. They may also be responsible for mediating coworker disputes, developing training programs and providing information to employees about their compensation and benefits packages.

Human Resources Managers: HR managers (also known as HR directors) oversee administrative teams at companies and organizations. They manage recruitment and hiring procedures, and often serve as a buffer between top management and other employees. Many HR managers specialize in certain areas of HR, such as labor relations, staffing and payroll.

Social Workers: Social workers provide supportive services for individuals and groups in need of assistance in certain areas, such as personal finance, employment and mental health counseling. Many social workers specialize in areas like children and families, healthcare and education. Most states have licensure requirements for clinical and non-clinical social workers.

Market Research Analysts: These professionals use psychological principles to determine the most effective methods for marketing and promoting various products and services. They study key consumer demographics, as well as money market trends; their findings influence advertising campaigns, brand and product launches, distribution strategies and other aspects of large-scale marketing.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for
Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)
Median Annual Salary for
Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Human Resources Specialists $58,350 5% (+22,000 jobs)
Human Resources Managers $104,440 9% (+10,800 jobs)
Social Workers $45,900 12% (+74,800 jobs)
Market Research Analysts $62,150 19% (+92,300 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology often go on to pursue a master’s degree in the same field. For more information about opportunities for grad students and more advanced careers in this field, please visit our Guide to Online Master’s in Psychology Programs.

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to psychology is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for psychology professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • American Psychological Association: The nation’s leading organization for professional psychologists, the APA today boasts more than 117,000 members. The website features a vast online library, a job board, continuing education opportunities, and a Psychology Help Center with links to blogs and articles about various psych-related topics. The APA also serves as the official accreditation agency for collegiate psychology programs.
  • American Board of Professional Psychology: Established in 1947, the ABPP oversees the standards and criteria used to certify and license practicing psychologists. The board awards certification to qualifying applicants in 15 different niche areas, including clinical psychology, couple and family psychology, and school psychology.
  • National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers: NAPPP is dedicated to promoting professional psychology through academic research and public advocacy. Members receive discounted electronic health records and reduced malpractice insurance, along with free continuing education courses, training tools, and job leads.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.


Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.


Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.


Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.


Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.